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Team WE took a wonky 2-1 series win over I May on Friday to kick off Week 9, Day 2 of the League of Legends Pro League in Shanghai.
Considering that Team WE (9-4, 20-12 match record) is the defending LPL champion, and that I May's (4-10, 11-22) playoff berth seems increasingly unlikely, Team WE should've stomped I May thoroughly, like it did in Game 1. Team WE smothered I May with early vision control, tracking the underdog's jungler and support with ease to put AD carry Jin "Mystic" Seong-jun's Kalista ahead.
WE's high-octane, almost swashbuckling mantra of "take as much as you can and give nothing back" was put on full display. I May seemed helpless in the face of WE's oppressive mid-game teamfighting and pick composition, allowing WE to take two Baron kills before securing a 5-for-1 ace on the back of a Mystic quadrakill to pick up the 38-minute Game 1 win.
In stark contrast, though, Team WE looked lost in Game 2 as it drafted a late game scaling composition and got summarily smashed in the early game by I May. Once I May hit its powerful mid-game power spike with mid laner and perpetual bright spot Kang "Athena" Ha-woon's Kassadin scaling up into an AD carry killing machine, it was curtains for WE.
In general, much of this series was decided in the pick-ban phase, as both teams took turns drafting the marksman Xayah and then getting stuffed early on, exposing Xayah's early weaknesses. Now, that's not to say that Xayah single-handedly lost Team WE Game 2; the squad made enough mistakes on its own to turn a winnable game into a 28-minute loss.
It was then time for I May to take its turn choking in the pick/ban phase, giving WE support Nam "Ben" Dong-hyun his signature Thresh while allowing Team WE to draft pretty much whatever it wanted, in exchange for some uncommon champion picks like the "cursed" Xayah and Malzahar for Athena. I May remained even with Team WE until, in the mid-game, WE held a 3-to-0 tower lead. Without objectives, late game teamfighting compositions eventually wither and die, and Team WE kept I May away from those key structures for the 2-1 sweep.
Team WE will play DAN Gaming at 2 a.m. ET on Sunday, while I May prepares to take on Invictus Gaming at 5 a.m. ET on Sunday.